Find a Job

Find a Job: Tips & Resources

Finding a job can be challenging. Connecting with the right company or organization takes time, dedication, and precise and calculated effort. Career and job counselors say that finding employment must become your full-time job until you secure that perfect position.

Here you'll find a variety of tips and resources to hone your job-search skills, including:

  • How to find a career that's right for you
  • Resume: Dos and Don'ts
  • Interview tips
  • How to negotiate salary
  • Resources for getting skill certification, additional training or education from technology centers, as well as two- and four-year institutions, links to videos that detail what employers really want, and more.

Choosing the Right Career

Oklahoma industries are booming, with plenty of opportunities for the newcomer to the working world as well as for those who need a change of pace and a fresh start. So what career fits you? And how will you get there? Check out Explore Careers where you'll find the tools and resources you need to:

  • Assess your skills and interests;
  • Match your skills and interests to a career;
  • Explore careers by occupation;
  • Explore careers by industry.

Resume: Do's and Don'ts

On average, employers or their recruiting agents skim a resume for 2.5 to 20 seconds before deciding to schedule an interview or throw the resume out. To stand out, your resume needs to be as close to perfect as possible. Here are a few general Dos and Don'ts.

Resources also exist for resume tips by industry and profession. For example, Monster Career Advice offers specific resume tips for the Information Technology industry, Finance professionals, nurses, and more.

Do's

1. Proof your resume to ensure that it's free of typos and grammatical errors. If you can, always have another set of eyes look it over. A resume with typos and grammatical errors sends all the wrong messages to a prospective employer.

2. Be specific, and highlight your accomplishments instead of just duties. Peter Vogt, a MonsterTRAK Career Coach, offers these examples of differences between listing your job duties versus listing your accomplishments. Duty or function: Updated departmental files. Accomplishment: Reorganized 10 years worth of unwieldy files, making them easily accessible to department members.

3. Customize your resume for each and every position you apply for. Employers want to see resumes that outline what you can do for their companies or organizations specifically.

Don'ts

1. Don't worry if your resume goes beyond one page. It's best to keep your resume to two pages, but don't be so brief that you miss the chance to communicate clearly what you've accomplished during past work experience, educational opportunities and exchanges, through participation in professional or civic organizations, etc.

2. Stay away from using passive verbs and personal pronouns and articles. Business communication, which includes resumes, needs to be concise and tight. For example, instead of saying: "I developed a new product that added $1 million in annual sales and increased the market segment's gross margin by 12%." The statement should read: "Developed new product that added $1 million in sales and increased market segment's gross margin by 12%."

3. Don't forget to use keywords throughout the resume. Employers often store resumes in databases that they search using keywords. To determine the keywords for your resume, review the job descriptions carefully and pull keywords or phrases from them.

Job Interview Tips

The following job interview tips come from the U.S. Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook:

  • Learn everything you can about the company or organization you're about to interview with. Review the website, read newsletters, annual reports, press releases, and company magazines.
  • Be prepared to then ask informed questions about the position, company, or organization when given the opportunity.
  • Prepare answers to broad questions about yourself, review your resume, and practice an interview with someone.
  • Avoid asking questions about salary and benefits unless you receive a job offer.
  • Use proper English, and avoid slang.
  • Answer questions concisely.
  • Thank the interviewer when you leave, and follow up in writing.

 

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Negotiating Salary

1. Know your salary requirements and develop an understanding of what skills are worth in the market where you plan to work. Doing your salary range research gives you a solid foundation for negotiation. Suggestions for good salary-range sources: U.S. Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov; The Salary Calculator and OK CIS.

2. Avoid discussing salary until you receive an offer, and let the employer bring it up. You do not have to put your current or specific salary requirements on your resume or in a job application. If asked, use words such as "open," "negotiable," or "competitive."

3. When stating a salary range, use the top figure of the employer's stated salary range, and extend the range to about 5% to 15% above.

4. Make sure you receive a written confirmation of the salary offer, including start date, salary, commission or bonus plans, employment location, and details about your benefits package.

5. Don't focus solely on salary because employers often offer a range of other benefits, which can be worth as much as 30% to 40% in addition to the actual salary. These benefits include: vacation, holidays, retirement, life and disability insurance, medical insurance, tuition assistance, stock purchase or savings plan, child care, and bonuses.

Extras

Evaluating a Job Offer
CareerJournal Salary Negotiation Advice
Completing Job Applications